Case Studies For Writers

a craft toolbox

Mar 25, 2020

Matching Your Character’s Mood to the Setting

By Hallie Christensen.

Have you ever watched a Broadway play that was made into a feature film? There are many examples of these: The Phantom of the Opera, Les Miserables, Mamma Mia—I could go on. While there are several differences between a play and the film of that play, the one difference I want to focus on is camera angles.

Mar 23, 2020

How a Pantser Can Plot Like a Pro

By CS Wade.

Plot basically is who did what, and to whom. The emotional side of plot is motive, the reason someone does what they do. That sums up plot in the simplest fashion. Plot is the elements that make a story great: great character arcs, tension, conflict, compelling theme, danger (emotional or physical) fascinating twists, and interesting characters who engage in smart dialogue. At some point, the plot must have a dark night of the soul for your protagonist: the lowest point of the story for your protagonist. 

Mar 20, 2020

It’s not just you, it’s every writer: Common Mistakes

By Chelsea McCard.
Whether you are a novice, just starting your journey into writing, or you are a seasoned veteran with several books under your belt, writing is a process. Part of that process is making plenty of mistakes. We all have made them. And sometimes, we hardly even notice we are doing it. Even the most accomplished writers make simple blunders at first. And this is perfectly fine. These mistakes are often fixed as the writer polishes up there pieces in various stages throughout the span of each manuscript.

Mar 18, 2020

What is suspense vs. mystery? What makes these two elements important to a story?

By Ash Jackson.

Let’s take a look at the definitions for these two. 


According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, suspense is a state or feeling of excited or anxious uncertainty about what may happen. What does this mean to a story? As an author, creating suspense is an important part of a book. Too much suspense can kill a story while too little can make it fall flat, efficiently destroying it. It’s an emotional process that readers need to go through to fully enjoy a story and writers need to treat with care. Suspense is a threat or danger that needs to be resolved or faced head-on. It’s not about solving puzzles- far from that! 

Mar 16, 2020

Matching the character’s mood to the setting

By Chelsea McCard.
Creating a relatable character is something most authors strive to convey in their writing. It’s not always easy, though. It can often be challenging to express a character’s personality without outright telling the reader. One of the best ways to do this is by using the setting to set the desired mood.
Picture a girl sitting on the edge of a pool.

Mar 11, 2020

Writing Tension in Quiet Scenes

By Jackie Mead.

Writers spend a lot of time thinking about what excites readers. But is your scene exciting to write? No? Sounds like it needs more tension.
Tension can be summed up in one word: anticipation. Ever watched your two favorite characters from a TV show have a conversation that makes you want to scream at the screen? Maybe they are in love but too afraid to admit it. Or they hate each other due to a misunderstanding. Or one of them is trying to hide something from the other. That interaction, even if it’s only small talk, is filled with tension. You, the audience, are anticipating that something big (good or bad) might happen at any moment. 

Mar 9, 2020

Tips on Writing a Fantasy Setting

By Rosalyn Briar.

            Fantasy novels should pluck readers from their everyday life and thrust them into a magical new setting. Too often, though, writers want to reveal every detail of their world-building into a prologue or write lengthy paragraphs explaining its history. This is called “info-dumping” and can bore readers because it doesn’t immerse them into the setting or plot. Readers are intelligent and enjoy gleaming a world’s information for themselves.

Mar 6, 2020

A Writing Craft Guide for the Perplexed (Under-represented) Writer

By E. L. Diamond.

Anne Lamott’s “Shitty First Drafts” changed me. She talks about our brain-muscles clamping shut around our psychic wounds, the scar tissue in our creativity that makes us try to be safe, instead of writing dangerously. Amazing stuff. I teach “Shitty First Drafts” in my writing classes. But one thing I’ve noticed over years of creative writing classes, both taken and taught, is that the best books on writing craft that my teachers handed me and that I continue to hand out—Lamott’s Bird by Bird, Stephen King’s On Writing, Ursula K. LeGuin’s Steering the Craft, William Zinsser’s On Writing Well—are by white folks. People who’ve made a living as a writer.

Mar 4, 2020

Plotting VS Pantsing: What You Need to Know

By Brittani Rose.

            As a writer, I have struggled with finding a way to plan my novel that works for me. I have tried to be a plotter; that failed me. I tried to be a pantser; that worked wonders for me and helped me win NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). Not sure what a plotter or pantser is? Let me tell you.
            A plotter is someone who works best when they have a very detailed outline and a solid plan in place when it comes to their writing. A plotter usually has every aspect of their novel planned out so that they know what they are doing at all times. When I tried this, I spent weeks planning every aspect of a novel. Every scene and detail that I felt I would need. I worked hard on an outline that told me just what to write and when. I failed because, for me, having planned all those details made me feel like I didn’t have control over the storyline anymore.

Mar 2, 2020

Time Management for Writers

By Paula Chapman, author of The Supplier, Vacation.

Ever notice the difference in the level of productivity among writers? The ones who seem super organized and always meet or exceed deadlines are not genies or part of the Marvel Team. They just possess better time management skills.

Now that’s a downer (wah-wah), some of you are thinking. Time management is for businesspeople.

Feb 28, 2020

How to Write a Killer First Line

By Yanina Wallis.

Let’s face it, we’ve all been there. We’ve all spent much longer than we care to admit anguishing over whether the first line of our novel is exciting enough. Reading it, deleting it, rewriting it, reading it, deleting it, rinse, repeat, to the point where you never think you’ll have that killer first line that your opening deserves.
The reality is, your first line doesn’t need to carry the weight of your entire novel. Take a look at any book from your collection and read the first line. Is it exciting? Sure, there are some fantastic exceptions, but the majority of books don’t open on a t-shirt worthy, instant classic.

Feb 26, 2020

Outline Your Memoir in One Day

By Imara Moses

When I finally decided to sit down and write my memoir, the idea of writing a book had been floating around in my head for a while.  Because I had been mulling over what I wanted my book to be about for some time, it only took one afternoon to write my outline. 
I have a scientific writing background, so I knew I would not be able to write a good book without first having a rough sketch of what I wanted to share.  The outline is critical to writing a book because it prevents it from being a series of random thoughts scrawled all over paper without any direction. 

Feb 24, 2020

Scene Setting Using Deep POV

By DJ Cracovia.

One of the toughest lessons to learn as a fiction writer is how to think like a writer. No, no, let’s rephrase that a little bit. What I meant to say is – the hardest lesson to learn, as a fiction writer is to think like our characters.

In recent years, more and more popular fictions are written in first person or third person close. Both POVs, aka Point of Views, lend themselves to deeper character-centered stories with less and less of the intrusive narrator’s voice. Today’s readers want to experience a story as it unfolds, and through the eyes of the main characters. Readers no longer want to be told a story, nor do they want to be told what to think by an omniscient storyteller.

Jan 30, 2020

Author Interview Series: Irene Perali

A writer's journey; a conversation with fellow writer Irene Perali about writing, technology, and expat life.

CritiqueMatch: You and I share the same passions: tech and writing. Tell us about your story.

Irene Perali: I remember the first time somebody asked me what I wanted to do when I grew up. I was four years old, and my answer was: "I want to become a writer." I wanted to be a writer before I learned how to write. I wanted to be a writer because I liked to tell stories. I had a vivid imagination, and, as soon as I discovered the power of the written language, I began to write all the stories that popped up in my mind. It felt natural and effortless to me.

Jan 3, 2020

Internal Conflict 101

By Bethany Tucker.

Conflict is the fuel of a story. It’s what makes the character burn and shine and the plot points churn. Without it, the engine, the world in which the story is told, has nothing to make it thrum with life. Conflict, however, comes in two forms, external and internal. Both are necessary for a strong story.